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15 June, 2024
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Energy in focus: Greece, Cyprus, and Israel hold trilateral meeting

Leaders met in Nicosia for high-level talks on joint energy ventures and regional stability

Source: CNA

Foreign Ministers of Cyprus Constantinos Kombos, Greece Nikos Dendias and Israel Eli Cohen, who met on Friday in Nicosia, pointed out the importance of the trilateral energy cooperation and its contribution to the stability in the region.

They also prepared the 9th tripartite summit, to be hosted in Cyprus at the end of the year. Special reference was made to the EastMed pipeline.

The three Ministers also discussed the situation in Ukraine and Libya, the Mid East peace process, the terrorist attacks in Israel and the terrorist plot in Greece and EU-Israel relations.

In his statements, Kombos said that the trilateral platform has evolved considerably since its inception and it is a dynamic strategic alliance between partners sharing common democratic values and a vision of stability, prosperity, and security in the region and beyond.

He said that the unprovoked and illegal Russian aggression in Ukraine is clear evidence of the growing challenges the world is faced with and this is why the trilateral cooperation and the project–based synergies provide a much-needed platform for a rules-based code of conduct and effective diplomacy.

Kombos said that the trilateral platform and spoke of the usefulness of the 3+1 mechanism with the US, aimed at promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Speaking about energy, Kombos noted that "unlocking the full potential of our region will be a game changer" adding that "we strive to promote a reliable and sustainable energy corridor from the Eastern Mediterranean basin to Europe."

Cyprus' Foreign Affairs Minister also said that the EuroAsia Interconnector and the EastMed Pipeline, remain two significant strategic options in our energy agenda noting that we are confident that their materialization will entail added practical and geostrategic value for the Eastern Mediterranean and the European Union.

He also referred to the coordination in effectively tackling asymmetric threats and terrorism and condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Israel.

He said that ahead of the religious holidays of Passover, Ramadan and Easter the concern about the increase of violence remains and underlined the importance of de-escalation and of safeguarding the historic status quo in the Holy Sites in Jerusalem, including in the Christian Orthodox places of worship.

On the Cyprus Issue, he said that he informed his counterparts on the efforts of President Christodoulides for the resumption of negotiations in line with the agreed framework of a bizonal, bicommunal federation, with political equality, pointing out that we are taking the initiative for breaking this unacceptable deadlock.

Greece’s Foreign Affairs Minister Nikos Dendias also condemned the recent terrorist attacks in Israel, in the strongest form and he said that today’s agenda included issues of trilateral cooperation but also issues of regional and global interest. He said that the three countries have set up synergies in many fields such as energy, technology, innovation, water resources and also the fight against terrorism.

Referring to energy matters he said that he outlined Greece’s goal to become an energy hub at home and the region’s supply in gas and electricity. Dendias said that the Eastern Mediterranean plays an important role as an alternative energy corridor and spoke about the East Med pipeline and its strategic importance to consolidate a regional security framework.

According to the Greek FM, the East Med Gas Forum provides an excellent example of how the participating countries are using energy as a catalyst for peace and cooperation.

“In this respect, we are open to admitting new members such as Turkey of course under conditions of respect of the international law," he said.

Dendias expressed Greece’s firm support for the 3+1 mechanism as well.

About the Cyprus issue, he said that it is a top national priority for Greece and that his country is committed to supporting a just and viable solution for the island, based on the resolutions of the UN Security Council, a solution to the bicommunal bizonal federation, compatible with the European acquis.

He said that they also talked about the situation in Turkey after the earthquakes and Greece’s solidarity and gesture based on humanitarian grounds, in times of huge difficulties.

Dendias said that Greek-Turkish relations are entering a calm period “but of course, things don’t change overnight”. He also said that on the agenda was Libya and the need to return to normality, the Mid East process and the concern about the escalation of violence, Ukraine and EU- Israel relations with the resumption, after 6 years, of the European Union- Israel political dialogue.

Eli Cohen, the Foreign Affairs Minister of Israel spoke of a very fruitful meeting saying also that the relations between the three countries are solid and they are growing even stronger.

He said that the three countries share values of freedom and democracy and the frequency of visits and meetings is an expression of the true interest in preserving and strengthening the trilateral cooperation.

He spoke also about the importance of cooperation in the form of 3+1 adding that yesterday evening he spoke with his US counterpart Anthony Blinken about the important opportunities in the region and about a date for a new meeting.

Cohen said that this cooperation is important for Israel and they want to promote it in other strategic and economic fields. He said that the relations with other countries in the region also develop and could serve as another factor for promoting stability in the Eastern Mediterranean.

He emphasized that this is not at the expense of relations with Greece and Cyprus which are close friends and strategic partners.

Cohen expressed Israel’s support for the negotiation process for a just, viable and comprehensive solution to the Cyprus problem, in line with the agreed framework, expressing hope that President Christodoulides’ initiative to resume the negotiations will be successful, in regenerating momentum to the process.

He said also that he is grateful to Greece and its intelligence and security services for successfully preventing terrorist attacks in the country against Jewish interests.

Israeli FM said that fighting terrorism is a top priority adding that the Iranian regime is exporting terrorism to the Middle East and the entire world and that the Iranian regime is not a regional problem anymore, but a European and global one.

He said that we need to put a stop to the Iranian nuclear race through diplomatic and economic pressure.

Cohen also spoke of the tourist relations between the three countries saying that Israelis enjoy the beautiful sites and history of Cyprus and Greece.

Cyprus has been divided since 1974 when Turkey invaded and occupied its northern third. Repeated rounds of UN-led peace talks have so far failed to yield results.

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